Apple computer gets 320-fold price rise

When the iPad went on sale, a few people complained about the idea of paying several hundred dollars and then having to stump up some extra cash for a case. They should count themselves lucky.

An Italian man has just paid more than $200,000 for an Apple computer without a case. And this time we’re not talking a carry case: the machine literally had no casing.

To be fair, this wasn’t the latest MacBook Pro. Instead it was an original Apple-1, the first machine Apple ever sold and one of only 200 units ever made.

The device, which was only on sale for a year before being discontinued, originally retailed for $666.66. (Insert your own anti-Steve Jobs gag here.) Yesterday Marco Boglion paid £133.250 (approx $213,600) at a technology auction to buy an Apple-1, complete with original components, such as 8K of RAM, packaging, and a letter from Jobs.

Not only was the Apple-1 the company’s first computer, but it’s birthing process was a perfect microcosm of the company’s success over the next 23 years. Steve Wozniak came up with the idea of building the machine, while friend Steve Jobs had the idea of selling it to the public.

Ironically for the company that went on to popularize the tablet PC, the computer didn’t ship with a keyboard. Then again, it didn’t ship with a screen or a power supply either. But as the auction listing notes, it did still offer a nod towards a casual audience, albeit in a very comparative sense: “Because the motherboard was completely pre-assembled, it represented a major step forward in comparison with the competing self-assembly kits of the day.”

Among the other items on sale at the auction were an Enigma (a German encryption machine used in the second world war) and papers belonging to computer pioneer Alan Turing.

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